Residents and businesses in the City of Melbourne will have a profound choice to make in this year’s Lord Mayoral election, the Public Transport Users Association said today.
The PTUA has released a scorecard rating the various candidates on the major transport issues affecting the City. Candidates were surveyed for their positions on key issues including the Eddington road tunnel, tram priority, car parking and Swanston Street.
Results fell across a wide spectrum. “There’s a real Melbourne Cup field out there,” explained PTUA President Daniel Bowen. “We have some committed transport reformers, some dinosaurs wanting to turn back the clock and bring traffic mayhem back into the CBD, and a lot of middle-of-the-road candidates who think the current spending of billions on roads is somehow ‘balanced’,” he said.
Top scorers on the PTUA’s list were the Greens, led by Adam Bandt, and Joe Toscano’s ‘Shifting the Burden’ ticket. “The Greens in particular demonstrate that they’ve really thought about these issues,” Mr Bowen said. “They understand the Eddington road tunnel is a waste of money and will destroy urban amenity, and they also understand the need for traffic light priority to speed up our trams. They’ve missed out on an A-plus rating because they won’t be winding back the unsustainable increases in CBD car parking, but at least they’ll resist adding any more.”
Mr Bowen said Robert Doyle’s ‘Activate Melbourne’ ticket, by contrast, endorsed a “back to the 1960s” approach to CBD transport. “Mr Doyle and his team are quite clear they not only want the Eddington road tunnel built ASAP, they also want to turn Swanston Street back into a traffic sewer,” he said. “It’s astounding that in the 21st century we still have people wanting to revive these tired old debates about cars in Swanston Street that everyone thought were done and dusted 10 years ago.”
Other candidates did not avoid criticism. “A lot of them are trying to have it both ways with the Eddington road tunnel,” Mr Bowen said. “Effectively they say they’ll oppose it if it’s bad but support it if it’s good, which means nothing.” But Mr Bowen noted that in addition to the Greens and Shifting the Burden, the Gary Morgan ticket had committed to opposing the road tunnel, and had been scored ahead of other candidates on that basis.
“It’s also a real shame that local politicians of all stripes are so keen to embrace mad schemes that distract from real solutions to transport problems, whether it’s removing tram stops or forcing everyone to change trams in the middle of St Kilda Rd,” added Mr Bowen. “It seems we’re just throwing around random non-solutions from a position of ignorance instead of looking at how other cities manage the movement of trams, cars, bikes and pedestrians in their city centres.”
“In the end no candidate is 100% perfect, but some do appear a lot better than others,” concluded Mr Bowen. “We’d urge all voters in the City of Melbourne to give thought to the transport commitments of these candidates, given how important the issue is today.”
Scorecard Summary (but see our update)
- Adam Bandt—Kathleen Maltzahn: A
- Joseph Toscano—Margaret Ely: B+
- Gary Morgan—Michele Anderson: C+
- Peter McMullin—Tim Wilson: C-
- Catherine Ng—Terry Makings: C-
- Gary Singer—Joanne Painter: C-
- Will Fowles—David Wilson: D+
- Nick Columb—Sue Calwell: D
- Robert King Crawford—Michael Kennedy: D
- Shelley Roberts—Abdiaziz Farah: D
- Robert Doyle—Susan Riley: F